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Archives for June 2012

LA MOCA&#146s Schimmel Press Release: Independent Curator, with a Museum Gallery Named for Him

This press release (full text at the link) hit my inbox at 7:04 p.m. NYC time. It provides no explanation for the falling-out between LA MOCA and its suddenly departed, widely respected, veteran chief curator, Paul Schimmel.But MOCA's official announcement does tell us this:Paul Schimmel has resigned from his position to become an independent curator, after 22 years with the institution, organizing some of the museum's most successful exhibitions. Mr. Schimmel will continue working with MOCA on the upcoming exhibition "Destroy the Picture: … [Read more...]

Ivan Karp, 86, the Most Uncommercial of Commercial Art Dealers UPDATED

The late Ivan C. Karp, 1990Photo by Melanie Eve Barocas Ivan Karp, who died yesterday at 86, was one of those selfless mentors who were always profligate with their time and insights, even with little-known, fledgling art writers (including me in the 1970s). His artworld reputation was made while he was co-director of the now legendary Leo Castelli Gallery from 1959 to 1969, when it was giving exposure to new such new talent as Warhol, Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg, Oldenburg, Wesselmann, Chamberlain. While Castelli became blue-chip, Karp kept the … [Read more...]

Paul Schimmel, Curator Extraordinaire at LA MOCA, Reportedly Fired

Paul Schimmel, speaking at the Brooklyn Museum's April 2008 press preview for the Murakami show that he originally curated for LA MOCA (Takashi Murakami seated at the left)Photo by Lee Rosenbaum[More on this here and here.]My reaction, to say the least, is incredulity. But the LA TImes reported it, so I guess it's true:Paul Schimmel, the longtime chief curator at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and one of the most prominent museum curators in the United States, was fired Wednesday. The firing was made by the museum's board of … [Read more...]

Perils of “Thinking Big”: Barnes Foundation as Possible Candidate for a Future University of Chicago Study

Derek Gillman, the Barnes Foundation's president and executive director, speaking at its press preview in MayPhoto by Lee RosenbaumRobin Pogrebin's piece in today's NY Times---For Art Institutions, Thinking Big Can Be Suicidal---is based on the University of Chicago's just released study, Set in Stone: Building American's New Generation of Art Facilities (to which the Times should have linked). Among the four case studies are two art-museums expansions---the Art Institute of Chicago's Modern Wing (reviewed by me in the Wall Street Journal, … [Read more...]

BlogBack: Steve Miller on the Hispanic Society&#146s Coin Dispersal

Steve Miller, adjunct professor of Seton Hall University's M.A. Program in Museum Professions, responds to Blind Oversight: AAMD, AAM Condone Hispanic Society's Coin Dispersal:You are absolutely correct when you talk about the irretrievable and irreparable loss of the intellectual value of the Hispanic Society of America's coin collection. Museums are supposed to be preservation organizations and this sort of disposal is the opposite of that. The public preservation of the 10,000 coins that are in private hands and on loan to the American … [Read more...]

The Death of Artnet Magazine, Artworld&#146s Online News Pioneer

The unceremonious, sudden demise yesterday of the 16-year-old online Artnet Magazine marked another sad day in art journalism's survival struggle.The news leaked out yesterday (here and here), before the following official announcement of the loss of this important resource for art reporting and criticism appeared on the magazine's (above-linked) homepage:Artnet Magazine, the first and best-known art magazine to be published solely on the internet, is ceasing publication, effective immediately. This difficult decision is an economic one, and … [Read more...]

Blind Oversight: AAMD, AAM Condone Hispanic Society&#146s Coin Dispersal

Catalogue for the "Extraordinary Auction" being held tomorrow in Madrid of 1,004 coins that were among the 37,895 sold last March by the Hispanic Society of America, New York, from the collection donated by its founder, Archer HuntingtonIn advance of tomorrow's resale of 1,004 coins selected from the 37,895 that were sold en bloc in a sealed-bid auction in March at Sotheby's, New York, by the Hispanic Society of America (HSA), the Spanish newspaper El País has reported that two more such dispersals, conducted by Madrid coin dealer/auctioneer … [Read more...]

Menil Menace: Picasso Vandalism Story Grows More Bizarre

Left: Picasso, "Woman in a Red Armchair," 1929, before the attackRight: Detail showing the defacement, as caught on a visitor's videoThe story of the spray-paint attack on a Picasso at the Menil Collection, Houston, keeps getting curiouser and curiouser. Tyler Rudick of CultureMap Houston reports that "a Monday afternoon e-mail circulated among faculty and staff at the University of Houston" suggested that "a student from the university has been linked to the crime."What's more, Rudick wrote that "on Tuesday, CultureMap spoke with the cameraman … [Read more...]

Kalpis Fracas: Toledo Museum Agrees to Relinquish Etruscan Water Vessel UPDATED

Back to Italy: Etruscan black-figure kalpis, attributed to the Micali painter or his workshop, late 6th century B.C. In his announcement late yesterday of the Toledo Museum's agreement (full text, here) to relinquish to Italy an important Etruscan black-figure kalpis (water vessel), Steven Dettelbach, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, exulted: This is an example of our office, ICE-HSI [Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations] and the Toledo Museum of Art working collaboratively [emphasis … [Read more...]

Counting the Money: More Details on Hispanic Coin Trove Returned to the American Numismatic Society

Some of the Hispanic Society of America's 37,895 coins, on pre-auction display in February at Sotheby'sPhoto by Lee RosenbaumIn today's NY Times piece, which followed up on my June 13 post about on the fate of the nearly 38,000 coins sold last March by the Hispanic Society of America, Felicia Lee gave a brief description of the 9,000 pieces that recently came back to the American Numismatic Society (thanks to an anonymous benefactor), reunited with the 1,004 Visigothic coins that constituted the first batch reclaimed from the HSA's castoffs. … [Read more...]

Menil Menace: What Not to Do When You Spot Someone Spray-Painting a Picasso

Detail from YouTube video screenshot (Photoshop enhanced) of vandal spray-painting the Menil Collection's Picasso, "Woman in a Red Armchair," 1929What would you do if you witnessed someone on the verge of damaging an artwork hanging in a museum?Would you record the event on your cellphone and murmur "WTF?" into its microphone, like the person at the Menil Collection last week who witnessed the defacing of a Picasso?Or would you do something like what I did, when I saw a clueless student at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, who was about to employ … [Read more...]

NY Times Plays Catch-Up on Hispanic Coins Story, Credits CultureGrrl&#146s Scoop

I'll have more for you on the Hispanic coins story, coming soon.But for now, I'm rubbing my eyes and saying, "Thanks, Felicia.!" Scroll down to the ninth paragraph in NY Times reporter Felicia Lee's story, Coin Collection Is Partly Saved by a Loan. They buried the credit and the link, but at least CultureGrrl (if not her alter ego, Lee Rosenbaum) is cited. It was Felicia who wrote this story back in November that discussed the Hispanic Society of America's financial difficulties and briefly mentioned the possibility of the coins sale.There's … [Read more...]

Back to the Barnes: Some Improvements, but Some Security Concerns (with videos)

Still a work-in-progress: The Barnes Foundation's waterless water feature, with a worker (in the distance, on right, in turquoise shirt) installing outdoor lightingHaving seen the photos of mobs of ticketholders waiting for admission to the Barnes Foundation's new galleries during the opening weekend of its new Philadelphia facility, I approached its cavernous light court with trepidation when I arrived for my return visit last Friday. My goal was to see the Barnes as the "plain people" (not the press people) experience it. I also welcomed a … [Read more...]

Iowa Pollock or I-Owe-a-Pollock? Monetization Monster Again Rears Its Head UPDATED

Jackson Pollock, "Mural, " 1943, at the Des Moines Art Center, on loan (to July 15) from the University of Iowa Museum of ArtSean O'Harrow, director of University of Iowa Museum of Art, which has held onto its great masterpiece, Jackson Pollock's 1943 "Mural," despite several legislative attempts to convert it to cash, suspected that some mischief was afoot after the university received a May 14 information request from Michael Gartner. As CultureGrrl readers may remember, in 2008, when Gartner was a member of the State Board of Regents, he … [Read more...]

Monetizing the Money: Why Did No One Stop the Hispanic Society’s Coin Disposal?

Hispanic Society of America's main court, with Goya's "The Duchess of Alba," 1797, at right (on lower level)The duchess of Alba, 1797 Photo by Lee Rosenbaum In yesterday's post on the Hispanic Society of America's deplorable disposal of virtually its entire coin collection (some 37,895 pieces), I asserted that the coins' donor, HSA founder Archer Huntington, had surely never envisioned the sale of this trove. Archer Huntington How do I know how Huntington (who died 56 years ago) would have regarded this disposal of holdings for … [Read more...]

BlogBack: Sebastian Heath on the Hispanic Society Coin Sales

Sebastian HeathSebastian Heath, research assistant professor of ancient studies at New York University's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World and research consultant to the American Numismatic Society, responds to 1,004 Ex-Hispanic Society Coins to Be Re-Auctioned in Spain; American Numismatic Society Retrieves 10,000 Pieces:It's a great relief to see some of these coins coming back to the ANS. I do hope that more pieces can be acquired by public collections, or at least loaned to them. But just as importantly, I hope that … [Read more...]

News Flash: 1,004 Ex-Hispanic Society Coins to Be Re-Auctioned in Spain; American Numismatic Society Retrieves 10,000 Pieces

Sotheby's employee replaces coins in display tray during presale viewing last February of Hispanic Society of America's numismatic collection Photo by Lee Rosenbaum [More on this here, regarding possible deviation from founder Archer Huntington's trust indenture.] One's worst fears are now being realized regarding the Hispanic Society of America's recent sale of 37,895 coins. This incomparable collection---the entire history of Spain, from the 5th century B.C. to the early 20th century, stamped in gold, silver and bronze---had been given … [Read more...]

“Men of the Docks” Revisited: Bellows Cast Off by Randolph College Temporarily Resurfaces at National Gallery

From museum exhibition catalogue to auction catalogue? Installation shot from National Gallery of Art's "George Bellows" show Center: "Men of the Docks" 1912, Randolph College Left: "New York," 1911, National Gallery of Art Right: "Snow Dumpers," 1911, Columbus Museum of Art Photo: Rob Shelley, © 2012 National Gallery of Art, Washington Among some 130 works in the just-opened George Bellows retrospective at the National Gallery, Washington (to Oct. 8) is "Men of the Docks," the masterpiece deaccessioned (but not yet sold) by … [Read more...]

Corcoran Uproar: Dueling “Community Meetings” about Its Precarious Future

"Save the Corcoran" group's logo photo[More on the Corcoran uproar, here.]In a prudent attempt to seize momentum from angry activists, the Corcoran Gallery and College have just issued a press release announcing a series of its own community meetings, "at which the public may hear directly from leaders including Fred Bollerer, director and president, about the current state of planning for the institution's future. Participants will also have the opportunity to express their own views about viable options to pursue."The first such conclave is … [Read more...]

Corcoran Communications Skipper Overboard: Guiter Jumps Ship

David Levy, director of the Corcoran from 1991-2005At least one staffer of the foundering Corcoran Gallery has bailed out. I've been away on a work-ation the past four days, so I'm belatedly reporting on the missive that arrived in my inbox on Friday morning---a farewell address from Kristin Guiter, the Corcoran's vice president for communications and marketing, now leaving for those proverbial "other opportunities." Her announcement came directly after her attendance on Thursday evening at a meeting called by Save the Corcoran proponents. That … [Read more...]

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